Chasing the White Whale: The Moby-Dick Marathon; or, What Melville Means Today

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All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. Chasing the White Whale offers a case study of the reading as a barometer of how Melville lives today among his most passionate and enthusiastic disciples, who include waterfront workers, professors, naval officers, tattooed teens, and even a member of Congress. Skip to main content. David Dowling. What enables Dowling s academic scrutiny to achieve such richness is his willingness to breach the surface of scholarly limit and jump full-bodied into the midst of the devoted general readers who travel to New Bedford to attend, for 25 hours, to the novel they love.

Dowling is no embedded journalist, no mere objective observer; he is a participant, a marathoner, subject to whimsy and weariness, to inspiration and exhaustion. And like Ishmael, Dowling imbues his critical thinking with human warmth, his reasoning with humor, giving us a book not only composed within Melville s own true method of careful disorder, but also one that manages to show how this nineteenth-century masterpiece has its hawsers fastened firmly to our own, how its old issues politics, environment, economics, race relations, class structure, and culture are our new issues.

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It is a book that dives down into "Moby-Dick"'s inscrutable depths and there conducts its rigorous thinking in and of an essential text. What enables Dowling's academic scrutiny to achieve such richness is his willingness to breach the surface of scholarly limit and jump full-bodied into the midst of the devoted general readers who travel to New Bedford to attend, for 25 hours, to the novel they love.

And like Ishmael, Dowling imbues his critical thinking with human warmth, his reasoning with humor, giving us a book not only composed within Melville's own true method of 'careful disorder, ' but also one that manages to show how this nineteenth-century masterpiece has its hawsers fastened firmly to our own, how its 'old' is "David Dowling's book, a thoughtful blend of reportage, cultural observation, and literary reflection, engages at length with Melville's "Moby-Dick" and some of its most dedicated fans: the eager hordes who descend on New Bedford, Massachusetts, each January for the Moby-Dick Marathon.

Recognizing in this annual ritual the signs of democracy in vigorous action, drawing on emotions ranging from the playful to the sublime, responding to the power of a diverse and enthusiastic reading community, Dowling opens up the connections between Melville's quest and those of his readers as he ranges widely through the text.

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Moby Dick or White Whale, First Edition

Person , Leland S. Post-Lauria , Sheila. Pullin , Faith, ed. Reynolds , David. Rountree , Thomas J. Critics on Melville University of Miami Press, Schultz , Elizabeth A. Schwab , Gabriele. Entgrensungen und Entgrezungsmythen Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, ]. Stafford , John. Stanonik , Janez.

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Sten , Christopher. Stern , Milton R. Thomas , Brook. Thompson , Lawrance. Tolchin , Neal. Weiner , Susan.

Yannella , Donald and Hershel Parker, eds. Anderson , Charles Roberts. Melville in the South Seas.


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